December 9, 2014

Beer Battered Cauliflower Poppers

A rare shot of cauliflower, trying to
hang out with the cool kids
When I was growing up, there was a pizza store I used to frequent that served fried cauliflower. As I grew older, I was shocked to discover that they weren't actually available...pretty much anywhere else. Also the tooth fairy isn't real. It's a hard life, I know. But the good news is, that with some luck, seasoning, and beer, I've managed to recreate the glory that was my deep fried childhood. I'm still working on the tooth fairy part.

1 head of Cauliflower (a "head" of cauliflower is the large bulbous mass from which "florettes" or "recognizable bits of cauliflower" are cut. It's called a "head" because it resembles a shrunken head in the offices of cartoon witch doctors. Also, it's the main source if cauliflower cognitive function. Prove me wrong.)
1 1/2 cups of Flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup Whole Milk
1/2 cup Beer
1/4 cup Fresh-grated Parmesan Cheese (if you don't have this lying around, take a wedge of Parmesan, and combine it with a grater)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 normal sized human's pinch of Cayenne Pepper
A finicky kitchen gadget
An unspecified amount of oil (vegetable or peanut)

For this recipe, you're going to have to make a batter. But don't worry! If, as a kid, you've ever mixed together a bunch of things into a weird gloop, you've got most of the technique down. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. 

The first thing to do is to beat your eggs until the yolks and whites combine into a yellow slimy goodness. Combine your egg goop with the milk, beer, and salt in a large bowl. In another, similarly large bowl, combine the flour, paprika, black pepper, cayenne, and cheese. That's right, this recipe requires you to have 2 bowls. It's an upper class, bourgeois recipe that necessitates the ownership of all sorts of bowls and things. But there's a simple step you can take to help with this:

Get over it. It's a bowl. 

Pictured: The source of class warfare
Pour about 1/3 of the flour mixture into your egg goop. Stir until it's combined. Then repeat 2 more times, to incorporate all of your flour (isn't math fun?). Take your cauliflower, and cut it. If you're a badass, turn it upside-down, and cut on an angle into each stalk to extract the florettes. If you're less of a badass, just chop it into ugly chunks. The batter and frying will hide your shame. Almost definitely!

Now comes the fun part, and by "fun" I mean "fire-hazard." You're going to take a WHOLE lot of oil and pour it into a pot. You want the oil to be at least 3 inches high. Next you're going to get a frying thermometer (or a candy thermometer, for the many candy makers who frequent this blog). Attach it to the pot so that it dips in to the oil, but doesn't touch the bottom of the pot. Pray to whatever deity is dear to you that you don't set your house on fire, and then crank the heat until your oil is 370 degrees. Fahrenheit. Because this is America, whatever-deity-you-previously-selected-dammit! 

Image enlarged to show awesomeness
Dunk your cauliflower bits into your goopy mess, to create a goopy cauliflowery mess. Transfer a small amount of this mess to your oil. You want to fry it in small batches to prevent clumping, and to keep the temperature of the oil from dropping too much when you throw your goop in (Note to the overly literal: don't actually THROW things into hot oil. Unless you're into oil burns.) Fry the cauliflower bits, stirring occasionally, until they're golden brown, and you're having trouble resisting the urge to dunk your hand into the hot oil just to get that goodness in you. Then, depending again on how much of a turn-on you find hot oil burns, select a method of cauliflower extraction. The more timid people may want to use a slotted spoon. Put your delicious chunks of fried goodness into a bowl lined with paper towels, and repeat the whole process until you're out of things to fry. Now, if you haven't already, consume your delicious fried cauliflower awesomeness. And if you think you see me tonight, sneaking into your place with a pair of pliers and a tutu, don't worry. You're gonna wake up with a shiny quarter. 

1 comment:

  1. Yo, i miss that cauliflower! We might just have to try this one...